Countdown

Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?
By Alan Weisman (Hardcover Book, 2013)
A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet-only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.

But with a million more of us every 4 1/2 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet-only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.

But with a million more of us every 4 1/2 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

Alan Weisman is the best-selling author of The World Without Us, and an award-winning journalist whose reports have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Discover, and on NPR, among others. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions and teaches international journalism at the University of Arizona. His essay "Earth Without People" (Discovermagazine, February 2005), on which The World Without Us expands, was selected for Best American Science Writing 2006, and he is interviewed frequently about how humans exist on the planet.

  • COUNTDOWN by Alan Weisman

  • Praise for The World Without Us

    "Prodigious and impressive." 
    (The New York Times).

  • "Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation." 
    (Newsweek).

  • "Extraordinarily farsighted. A beautiful and passionate jeremiad against deforestation, climate change, and pollution." 
    (Boston Globe).

  • "I don't think I've read a better non-fiction book this year."

  • "Brilliantly creative. An audacious intellectual adventure. His thought experiment is so intellectually fascinating, so oddly playful, that it escapes categorizing and clich├ęs. It sucks us in with a vision of what is, what has been and what is yet to come. The book is addictive...By appealing not just to our fear and guilt but to our love for our planetary home, The World Without Us makes saving the world as intimate an act as helping a child. It's a trumpet call that sounds from the other end of the universe and from inside us all." (Salon).

Product Details

Countdown
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $30.00 US/$33.00 CAN
  • Pages: 800
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316239813
  • On Sale Date: 09/24/2013
Countdown

Tours & Events

Monday, April 28th
7 Billion and Counting: Population and the Planet
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Virginia Wimberly Theatre
527 Tremont Street
Boston, Massachusetts

Also By This Author
Countdown